Fair Testing Advocates Urge College Board: Cancel Special “Rich Kids SAT”

for further information:
Bob Schaeffer     (239) 395-6773
Elizabeth Stone   (650) 579-6180

for use after 10:30am EDT, Monday, June 4, 2012

FAIR TESTING ADVOCATES URGE COLLEGE BOARD: CANCEL SPECIAL, AUGUST 3 “RICH KIDS SAT”

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) and independent counselor Dr. Elizabeth Stone, who exposed a controversial plan to administer an official SAT exam on August 3 only to students enrolled in a $4,500 program, today called on the College Board to cancel that test.

In a letter delivered to College Board President Gaston Caperton and Vice President Kathryn Juric, FairTest and Dr. Stone said, “Granting an opportunity to take the exam outside the regular academic year and after intense SAT coaching only to an economically elite segment of the college-going population is blatantly unfair, as the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the plan makes clear.

The letter urged the College Board to answer several questions as part of its reconsideration of the special testing date:

  • Why did the College Board announce that it would report scores from the August 3 test as if they came from the regular June 2 SAT after pressure began to build on admissions offices to ignore scores from the special, mid-summer administration? Is this labeling not misleading if not fraudulent?
     
  • If the August 3 test is really a “pilot SAT administration,” as the College Board began claiming after the special exam became controversial, why was this never mentioned in any prior publicity, including news releases on the College Board’s own letterhead? And, if a “pilot” test were even necessary, given that the College Board offered a regular SAT in July for many years, would it not make sense to try out the summer exam at public schools, including those serving low-income students?
     
  • The College Board website (http://press.collegeboard.org/sat/faq#testprep) states, "short-term, for-profit test-prep courses don't increase test scores significantly" and "we do not endorse the use of expensive test-prep courses."  Why then is the College Board partnering with The Princeton Review, a for-profit firm, to sponsor this short-term $4,500 course, which includes eight days of test coaching classes plus two, full-scale practice exams (http://www.nsgtuniversityprep.org/campus/)? Does the College Board now admit that SAT preparation works?
     
  • How is the College Board’s partnership in this elite, ultra-expensive summer program consistent with the organization’s claim that the SAT program has always been guided “by the principles of increasing access and making the college-going process broadly available for all students,” as Vice President Kathryn Juric stated in her written response to counselor Elizabeth Stone’s initial complaint? In what way does the program serve as the “democratizing force in education” that Ms. Juric calls the SAT.

Hundreds of college admissions counselors, teachers, parents, students and education reform advocates have posted strong criticisms of the “rich kids SAT” on news stories, blogs, and listserves around the nation.

FairTest leads the nation's test-score optional admissions movement. More than 850 accredited, bachelor-degree granting colleges do not require all or many applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores before admissions are made. A complete, regularly updated list is online at: http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional

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  • The complete letter from FairTest and Dr. Stone is available on request

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